EDDM vs Valassis (Red Plum)

I am looking for some input. First off, let me start by saying that I am currently doing 2,000 EDDM pieces a week via MailShark, and have been happy with the results. My concern is however, that as there is no direct control as to when the pieces hit homes, they often hit Tuesday with the “shared mail” pieces like Red Plum. Obviously, the big market on EDDM is “It’s more costly, but you are getting an individual piece.” But wouldn’t that benefit go out the window when it is being included with the shared mail (when I personally got mine the first time around, it was shoved in the middle of the Red Plum, and a family member found theirs underneath the Red Plum but had admitted that if they were not specifically looking for it, they would not have noticed it before throwing out the Red Plum).

Now Valassis (the marketing company that does the Red Plum) has a product they call their wrap (the front page of the red plum, the inside cover page, the back inside page, and the back page). When quoting their prices for my area (75,000 homes for the full wrap), it comes out to approximately $1150 for a front or back page (when available, as national chains get first pick), or $775 for an inside front or back page. Now while some of those homes are outside of my area (my entire area has approximatly 60,000 homes), it would still cost me about 15 times as much money (compared at the front page cost) to hit all 60,000 homes with my EDDM pieces, that are 9 times out of 10 being delivered on the same day as the shared mail.

I have a great database with my point of sale, and have recently (I know, it should have happened long ago but my old point of sale was a very true POS), and will be consistently mailing to my database for New Customers, 30, 60, and 90 day customers, as well as customer complaints.

So in my eyes, I find it very unlikely that I am getting 15x more return on my EDDM than I would on Valassis, so I would think the ROI would be equal to if not better by doing the Valassis (which I could afford to hit each home 2 times a month as opposed to once every 10 weeks). While still maintaining my database mailings for a more “direct mail” for customers once they order.

Could anyone advise me of their thoughts on the issue, or their experiences with a company like Valassis?

Note: I wanted to make sure to clarify, I am VERY pleased with the quality of service I have received from MailShark. The issue of when the pieces are hitting is with my local post office. I highly recommend them to people looking to do an EDDM campaign.

Your response rate will be much, much lower on Valassis than a directly mailed postcard or menu.

For a Valassis type mailing, I can send 30,000 for about $400 and will usually get about 50-60 back. For a direct mail (EDDM) postcard I can send 5,000 for about $1,000 and get 200 back.

The issue of when the pieces are hitting is with my local post office. I highly recommend them to people looking to do an EDDM campaign.

It probably isn’t with your local post office. When you do an EDDM yourself and take them to the DDU (the post office serving the people you’re mailing to) they will almost always hit the next day. I’ve done many, many EDDM mailings and permit DDU saturation mailings over the years… they have never not hit the next day, and we’re talking hundreds of mailings.

Your EDDM from MailShark is being entered at their local BMEU. They are then drop-shipped to the DSCF (possibly thousands of miles away; I don’t know where either they or you are). They then go through the sort to get on the right truck to get sent to the DDU.

All of that shipping and sorting adds variables in the timing. When they finally make it to the DDU, however, you can almost guarantee they go out the next day. The post office has no reason to hold them, and EDDM is the easiest thing a carrier can do. They just get a stack and drop them in each box without even looking (since they’re not even addressed.)

If you really want them to hit on a certain day (and I always do) it may be a good idea to do them yourself (I always do). You’ll have full control and save half of what you’re paying now… for about one hour of work per drop!

Even I like to rag on the Post Office sometimes, but one thing I can tell you is once mail hits the DDU it’s going to customers’ homes as fast as possible. As a matter of fact, I once brought an EDDM on a Tuesday and asked them to deliver it on Thursday. The answer was no… their Postmaster does not allow ANY mail to be held.

I once had a saturation mailer hit the same day I mailed it. I brought it in at the open of 8:00am because I had a busy day ahead. At about 4:00pm I got a call from a customer with that coupon. The carrier of that route was still filling their boxes, so I guess the clerk brought them straight back and away they went.


Thank you for the response. I may consider doing that then. I usually find the best result when they hit Wednesday or Thursday, is that about when you try to do yours?

Absolutely… Wednesday or Thursday are always the days I mail for. Between those two it just comes down to what day I’ll have the best staff on and whether its better for me to go Tuesday or Wednesday that week.

There’s too much shared mail competition on Monday and Tuesday (they get lost, like you mentioned.) Fridays never do well. And never, ever, ever have them hit on Saturday! I did Saturday once as a test and it went horrible. I did it a second time to prove the first time wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t!

Doing them yourself really is a breeze, and the local office will be a huge help your first time out. They want the business - their sales numbers actually matter to them and by doing some EDDM you may very well become one of their biggest customers.

They’ll probably let you slide on the technical requirements of the mailing as well. You’re supposed to have them bundled in 50 or 100 with a facing slip on each bundle indicating the amount and route. The first time I did it, I followed all of the rules to a “T”. The Postmaster told me “don’t bother with that, just count them out, throw them in a box and write what route they’re going to. It’s more work for us to have to un-bundle all of them.”